“Liberty means responsibility, that is why most men dread it”
- George Bernard Shaw
The ideas encapsulated by this simple thought hold great relevance for us as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Independence day this year. For ‘liberte, fraternite, equalite” requires a certain sense of duty and respect to the values of fairness, tolerance and equality, that seems to be often missing among us citizens, and since we are a nation of children and teens, with 1/3rd of our population under the age of 15, it seems apt that these fundamental values of responsible citizenry be inculcated amongst them, and what better way to do it than illuminating the examples of a few true patriots, who wanted to make us truly free in body and spirit. So here are some icons that are worth emulating for your kids, and yes they don’t include Gandhi or Ambedkar..
Mahadev Govind Ranade, could be classified as your typical late 19th century Intellectual Indian politician, but he was also a staunch social reformer, who believed in equality and fairness and who did things based on reason and patience. A real inspiration to today’s kids, for whom everything is based on illogical pride and impulse. Mind you ‘kids ‘ also include some rather pompous ‘adults’ who talk of chests and everything else in between.
At a time, when people get lynched out due to irrational animal reverence and anybody with a critical perspective gets censored rather rudely, MN Roy’s life and ideals stand out as a valuable example to hold up to for kids, as besides being a staunch revolutionary and freedom fighter, he was also a hard headed humanist, who believed in tolerance of ideas and a world free of ‘Us VS them’ attitudes.
While E.V Ramaswami Periyar, was not your typical jail trotting freedom fighter, he did stand for a world free of casteism, sexism and other forms of narrow minded social parochialisms. Something quite unique in an era where people are too busy thumping their perceptions on others. Make sure that your kids, know the story of this amazing persona, if you want them to appreciate the true spirit of liberty and our constitution.
Image source: indigest
Your average 17 year old kid today, would rather dream of parties, Pokemon or cars. But here is a young 17 year old girl, who actually sacrificed her life for the right to breathe in a free nation. Kanaklata Baruah, was shot draped in our national flag. She gave up her life, so that all of us can live free and proudly call ourselves as ‘Indians’. But we don’t, as we are rather too busy ascribing terms like ‘Hindu, ‘Muslim’, ‘Gau-Rakshak’, ‘Gau Bhakshak’ to each other. But at least we can teach our kids, to come out of this beefy quagmire and feel themselves as proud Indians through the amazing story of Kanaklata, who died for India, not ‘Hindustan’ or ‘Bharat’.
So here are some real inspiring personas that you should talk about to your kids besides the pantheon of Gandhi-Nehru-Bose-Ambedkar-Singh. For these individuals carried forward the light of true humanity, teaching us that freedom goes beyond the jingoism of a few slogans or the catechism of a static anthem.
Happy Independence day everyone and Jai Hind!!!
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